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Picture of Hiking Utah's National Parks
Picture of Hiking Utah's National Parks
Picture of Hiking Utah's National Parks
Picture of Hiking Utah's National Parks
Picture of Hiking Utah's National Parks
Picture of Hiking Utah's National Parks
Picture of Hiking Utah's National Parks
Picture of Hiking Utah's National Parks
Picture of Hiking Utah's National Parks
Picture of Hiking Utah's National Parks
Picture of Hiking Utah's National Parks
Picture of Hiking Utah's National Parks
Picture of Hiking Utah's National Parks
Picture of Hiking Utah's National Parks
Picture of Hiking Utah's National Parks

Hiking Utah's National Parks

Destination: National Parks in Utah

Southern Utah is home to four of the most well known National Parks, each with its own special magic and unique attractions. Zion National Park is famous for its soaring red Navajo Sandstone cliffs. Nearby Bryce Canyon is a testimonial to the erosive power of ice and rainwater, carving its colorful limestone into windows, fins, and soaring spires called hoodoos. Capitol Reef is a monument to the amazing power of uplift. Goblin Valley State Park demonstrates just how bizarre rocks shaped by erosion can get and also the magic of slot canyons. And Arches National Park lives up to its name with over two thousand sandstone arches of all shapes and sizes. While we need to drive between parks (on some of the most scenic highways you will ever have the pleasure to drive on), this is not primarily a driving trip. We will hike between 3 and 6 hours every day and see each park as only hikers can. Maximum group size: 10;

Highlights

  • Exploring the Emerald Pools Trail in Zion National Park
  • Walking among the hoodoos of Bryce Canyon National Park
  • Slithering through the slot canyons of Little Wild Horse
  • Hiking to some of the many arches in Arches National Park
  • Enjoying the remoteness and solitude of Capitol Reef

Departures and Prices

April 19 to April 26, 2020
$2625.00 - Available
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Inclusions

  • 1 - 2 experienced AGC guides based on group size
  • Seven nights of double occupancy accommodation
  • All meals from dinner on 1st day to breakfast on the last day
  • Transportation during the trip
  • National Park entry fees

Not included: Airfare to Las Vegas or from Grand Junction, alcoholic beverages, guide gratuities and travel insurance

Details

We have rated this trip as a 3 and a 4 because of the choice of a longer and shorter hike on most days. This trip is a great choice for women in very good physical condition with some hiking experience who are looking for hiking, some of it challenging, in a desert environment. Prior to beginning the trip, participants should be engaged in aerobic conditioning such as walking vigorously up hills, jogging, or stair stepping for 30 - 45 minutes at least 3 - 4 times a week. If you are planning on the longer hikes, we recommend aerobic exercise for 40-50 minutes 4-5 times a week and additional endurance exercise (e.g. going for a 2 hour hike once a week) and/or strength training. If you are looking for a trip in this area with shorter hikes or have very limited prior hiking experience, please look at Exploring the National Parks of Utah. Rating: 1 2 3 4 5.

This trip combines hiking with an immersion into the unique geology of this fascinating area - there is no better way to understand the different geologic processes that formed each Park than to explore them on foot. Because we offer choices of hikes each day, it is an excellent trip for novice and intermediate hikers who like hikes of intermediate or shorter length. The town of Moab at the end of the trip is an ideal spot for those who like to browse shops or bookstores, or sample excellent coffee and local beer and wine.

We stay at a variety of accommodations on this trip, starting with one night at a Las Vegas hotel. We then stay at lodges that are located right inside the parks, one night at Zion Park Lodge and two nights at Bryce Canyon Lodge, a very short walk from the rim. Then there is one night at a motel in Hanksville, before finishing the trip with two nights in Moab in beautiful new condos, each with three bedrooms and a private hot tub. One bedroom has a private bathroom and the other two (one bedroom has a queen, the other has twins) share a bathroom. Women who have paid for a single get the mistress bedroom and otherwise the rooms are assigned randomly.

Below is the proposed itinerary for the trip. As is true on any adventure travel trip, plans for any specific day may be modified due to weather considerations, unforeseen circumstances, new opportunities, and group interests.

DAY 1
Our trip starts today in Las Vegas where you can arrive anytime before 4 pm. Catch the convenient shuttle to our hotel, in time to meet everyone at 5:00 pm. We'll start getting to know each other and review our plans for the trip, before sharing our first dinner. The evening is free for you to get to bed early or wander the strip: watching the dancing fountains at Bellagio is always a treat.
DAY 2
The drive to our first destination, Zion National Park, is about 3 hours. Our first stop is our picnic area where you can explore the area or take a break while your guides prepare lunch. After the first of many delicious picnic lunches and some instruction on how to hike happily and safely for the week, we'll explore the Emerald Pools Trail System. The 3 mile hike (we take about 2.5 hours) to the Upper Pool passes through pinyon-juniper habitat as we visit the lush environment of the lower pool and gaze at the soaring canyon walls of the upper pool. Along the way we'll talk about how Zion Canyon was formed and see evidence that it is a process that is still quite active. Our lodging tonight is right in the bottom of Zion Canyon, in one of the most beautiful and peaceful settings in the entire park system. Overnight Zion National Park.
DAY 3
Today our choice of hikes starts on the trail to Scout's Landing. This paved trail switchbacks up on a wide trail for about 2 miles. For those who have no fear of heights and want a mental challenge, we offer Angels Landing, one of the classic hikes in Zion. From Scouts Landing, the trail follows a narrow ridge (there are chains there for support) out to a fantastic overlook high above Zion Canyon. For many, however, this will be far enough, and you can either wait (the view is amazing) or return to the trailhead and walk along the Virgin River trail. In either case you can make your final decision once you've actually seen the trail. Hiking up to Angels Landing is about .5 miles out and back. In late afternoon we'll drive to Bryce Canyon. The Zion-Mount Carmel Highway is a dramatic feat of engineering, taking us through a very different looking part of the Park. We'll arrive in Bryce in time for dinner. Our lodging tonight is about a 5 minute walk from the rim. Hiking: 5 miles, 4 hours. Overnight Bryce Canyon National Park.
DAY 4
Another park, another choice of classic hikes: the Peekaboo or the Fairyland Loops. No matter which you choose, we'll start by descending into Bryce Canyon. The Peekaboo Loop is a 6 mile trail, which follows an up and down loop around a major formation with constantly changing views, provides an excellent opportunity to see hoodoos from the bottom up. For those wanting a bit longer hike, the Fairyland Loop is an 8 mile trail. The trail starts with 2.5 miles along the rim before plunging down into the hoodoos of Fairyland Canyon. The scenery is spectacular: along the way we get a great view of the Chinese Wall, hike past Sinking Ship Mesa, and take a short spur to Tower Bridge. With much less traffic here than other trails in the park, it may be one of the park's best kept secrets. That evening we'll have the chance to watch the sunset over some of the most amazing geology you'll ever see. Bryce is known for having one of the most glorious nighttime skies of anyplace in the U.S. and if stargazing appeals to you, this is the perfect place to do it. Hiking 6 - 8 miles, 4 - 5 hours Overnight Bryce Canyon National Park
DAY 5
Our three hour drive this morning to Capitol Reef National Park is one of the most scenic of the whole trip as we drive though Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, crossing over vast stretches of slickrock before climbing up and over the Boulder Mountains. Capitol Reef is a small section of the Waterpocket Fold, a 100-mile long wrinkle in the earth's crust comprised of colorful canyons, buttes, mesas, and monoliths. We explore only a small portion as we hike on the Frying Pan trail, a 6 mile primitive trail through Cohab Canyon to Cassidy Arch and out Grand Wash. This hike offers more solitude and wilderness than any other on the trip as we follow it across country that is typical of the entire Park. Alternatively, for a shorter hike one can do an out and back hike from Grand Wash up to Cassady Arch, packing significant elevation gain and spectacular scenery into 3 miles. We stay overnight at a motel in Hanksville, a small Utah town that is home to the world famous Blondie's (it's in a Chinese guidebook so it must be world famous) where we'll have a great breakfast the next morning. Hiking 3- 6 miles, 3 - 4.5 miles Overnight Hanksville, UT
DAY 6
Today's hike is the Little Wild Horse/Bell Loop. The entire loop is about 8 miles and goes through two slot canyons that can be as high as 250 feet and as narrow as 2.5 feet. For a shorter hike, an out and back through one canyon is a great option. Hiking in slot canyons is always dependent on weather but these are two of the most accessible in Utah. Depending on how far we go and how long it takes us, we may have time to visit Goblin Valley State Park. Gobin Valley is one of those state parks that is so spectacular, it would be a National Park in any other area. It gets its name from the thousands of mushroom-shaped pinnacles that have been carved by wind and water over the centuries.

After finishing our hike we continue on to our condos in Moab. Moab is one of the most charming small towns in Utah, known for its great shops and limitless outdoor opportunities. If you want a chance to explore the many restaurant options in Moab, this is the night. Alternatively the guides will get some take out pizza and salad and if you want to just kick back at the condos after the day, you are welcome to join them. Hiking up to 8 miles, 5 hours. Overnight Moab.
DAY 7
Due to Arches National Park's unique geology, this park contains the largest concentration of arches of anyplace in the US. Again we offer two choices. One is to start with Delicate Arch trail, a classic Arches hike and not to be missed. We'll take the short spur trail to a Ute Indian Petroglyph and then walk up gradually sloping slickrock to a small valley surrounded by red rocks on the way to the arch. Just when you think you must have taken a wrong turn, the arch suddenly appears and you immediately understand why it is the most photographed arch in Utah. There are several other short hikes to different arches so some of us may decide to continue with more hiking while others will want time in Moab, the most fun place to shop in Utah. Alternatively the 8 mile Devil's Garden Trail is a more challenging hike that passes seven arches before following a primitive route down washes past some more arches. Tonight we celebrate our week of hiking with a final farewell dinner at our condos. Hiking up to 8 miles, Overnight Moab.
DAY 8
This morning we share a final breakfast, pack up, and say our goodbyes to Utah. We will plan to leave Moab for Grand Junction, Colorado (GJT) about 8:00 am for the 2 hour drive and you can plan to fly out anytime after 11:00 am (it's a small airport and an hour is plenty of time to check in).

*These are the unfiltered reviews of women who have been on this trip in answer to the question "Did this trip meet your expectations?". We take reviews very seriously and often tweak itineraries based on feedback. Please feel free to contact us about any questions you have.

The guides! And their skills allowed me to enjoy each location and be challenged as expected! The places we stayed were great, the places we ate, and comfortable vans to travel in. I could not believe the wonderful surprises of the places we went to and the unique hikes we could do. Loved it.

Hiking Utah's National Parks 4/20/2019-4/27/2019


Scenery, guides, companions wonderful; food/lodging better than expected.

Hiking Utah's National Parks 4/20/2019-4/27/2019


Hiking highlights were scaling Angel's Landing and our long day at Little Wildhorse Canyon. The other highlight was simply spending a week with a group of amazing women. This was my second trip with AGC and once again I was touched at how quickly a group of mostly strangers were able to bond, even if it was only for a week.

Hiking Utah's National Parks 4/20/2019-4/27/2019


All the National Parks were a highlight, along with the accommodations and the food. I'm glad we had two vans to travel in comfortably.

Hiking Utah's National Parks 4/20/2019-4/27/2019


Our guides were wonderful - very knowledgeable and encouraging and fun, We got to see some breathtaking sights and a great variety of trails and locations. Everything was well organized and the timing always seemed just right.

Hiking Utah's National Parks 4/20/2019-4/27/2019


The itinerary was great and the accommodations far exceeded my expectations.

Hiking Utah's National Parks 4/20/2019-4/27/2019


It was my first AGC trip - in fact it was my first group, guided hiking trip at all - so everything was baseline.

Hiking Utah's National Parks 4/20/2019-4/27/2019


Wonderful hiking and amazingly competent and great guides, yummy food, good company.

Hiking Utah's National Parks 4/20/2019-4/27/2019


  1. Ihave never hiked before. Would this be a good trip for me?

    This trip is designed for women with some hiking experience and our Exploring Utah's National Parks might be a better choice for your first hiking experience. That being said, if you have a good level of fitness and love a challenge, then please join us.
  2. Where do we eat?

    Breakfasts and dinners will be in restaurants where you can order off the menu or are buffet style. The guides will cook the final dinner at the condos. Before you leave in the morning the guides will put out lunch 'fixings' and you will take a packed lunch to eat along the trail.
  3. What dietary preferences or restrictions can you accommodate on this trip?

    If we know well in advance, we can accommodate vegetarian, lactose-free, and gluten-sensitive diets. We cannot guarantee a completely gluten-free diet and we cannot provide a kitchen guaranteed to be free of cross-contamination. If you are vegan, we ask that you bring some additional protein bars; and if you are gluten-sensitive, please bring some gluten-free snacks. If you have severe allergies, Celiac disease and/or other significant dietary restrictions, please call the office before you register.
  4. I will be coming by myself. Do I need to pay a single supplement?

    You only need to pay a single supplement if you want to guarantee you have your own room. Otherwise we’ll pair you up with someone and then switch roommates every time we switch lodging.
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